June 6 retro-death-telegraphy

Subtle Technologies Festival starts officially tomorrow with the opening of the exhibition The Beyond Category at the Beaver Hall gallery, but let me talk about this workshop organized by Ryan Jordan.

Tonight Jordan introduced Retro-Death-Telegraphy with his workshop at Interaccess. using a piece of germanium from the experiments conducted by the Scole Group and some basic electronics, Jordan taught the participants to build a “Transdimensional Communication Reception”, an instrument attempting to  establish a connection with the afterlife.

To know more about Ryan Jordan’s experiment, here is an article he just published on the Huffington Post

The Scole Group mainly conducted its experiments in the Nineties. However, the instrument, the purposes behind it, and the experiment of séance brings us back to the Victorian era. Although I wasn’t able to attend the workshop, I caught some participants posting early pictures (and comments on Facebook). Some comments were particularly interesting: the instrument should put us in touch with afterlife via sonic signals, but these signals are illegible.  Our cultural imaginary is so saturated by references to extraterrestrial life, and horror stories of sacrilegious disturbances to the dead that these signals may actually disturb us or even evoke the uncanny.

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here is a screenshot I captured from my Facebook location. it pictures the actual transdimensional receptor in progress

and this is an image that Jim sent me from his location in situ. I am looking forward to hearing comments and results from the participants.

But just as a commentary to this workshop and how it links to the topic of the festival. when I hear the word  “immortality”, I don’t think of how we may prolong our lives, but I think of our very mortality, our mortal bodies and our fading memory. I am sure there will be many disquisitions during the festival about how to materially extend lives, or technologically preserve our own existence, how to rely on technologies as keys to our immortality. However, I have the sensation that  remembering and dreaming of reconnecting with our past, with our long gone friends, our relatives (all somehow ephemeral, mental and immaterial acts) will have a substantial, if not greater significance. In this way, this workshop is important, since it acts as a connector of both elements, the technological object and our imagination